How to Change Icons Based on File Type in Windows 7

In previous versions of Windows, you could change the icon for different file types in the Folder Options window of Explorer.  In Windows 7, changing icons requires some advanced registry editing.  Rather than take you through the long process of editing the registry for individual file types, we have two different programs that will do the job for you, and a heck of a lot faster.

File Types Manager and Types are two different programs that can be used to edit file types.  Both applications will allow you to edit more than just the icons, and both applications work with several versions of Windows; most importantly Windows 7.  Below, we’ll look at how to change the icons for file types in both of these programs.


Types is a free open-source utility that gets the job done, though it is hardly intuitive.  Types’ user interface is incredibly simple.  It is too simple if you ask me, but that also makes it quick and painless to change file type icons.

Download Types for Windows.

To change a file type’s icon in Types, open the program and then Right-Click the file type you’d like to change from the huge list that appears.  From the context menu Select Properties.

application types in types program

In the small properties window that appears, Click the Icons tab and then the small folder icon to browse your computer for a replacement icon.

icons tab in types

Once you’ve found an icon you like, just Select it and then exit the program to apply changes.  That’s all there is to it!

exit types to apply changes

File Types Manager

File Types Manager is a freeware application from Nirsoft with an extensive set of features.

Download File Types Manager for Windows.

Right-Click the file type you’d like to change, and then Select Edit Selected File Type.

File Types Manager edit selected type

In the Edit window that appears, Click the button next to Default Icon.

change file type icon file type manager

Browse for the icon that you would like to use, and then Click OK from both open windows to apply changes.  Done!

File type manager file icon browser


Microsoft has really taken a step in the reverse direction when it comes to file type associations in Windows 7.  This is probably one of the few things in Windows 7 that you’ll hear me complain about, but this one just doesn’t make sense.  Come on Microsoft, if you are going to remove a feature – at least make an official utility to replace it.  Thanks to Types and File Type Manager, we can still edit our file types despite lack of support form Microsoft.



  1. Dave Cochrane

    August 18, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Having trouble re-assigning different icons for different video formats. I like the GOM Player’s system of different colours for different file formats, but like to use VLC player. However, whenever I try to assign, say, a blue VLC cone icon to an mkv file, it changes the icons of all the other video files too (avi, wmv, mp4, etc). Tried “Types” and File Types Manager” but no joy. Any suggestions?

  2. Gregg Hoover

    January 17, 2019 at 12:06 pm

    The download link to Types is broken. You can download it here:

    As the article states, it’s not very intuitive.

    • Steve Krause

      January 20, 2019 at 12:22 pm

      Thnx Gregg – Article updated.

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